The Western demand that Syria’s Assad must step down is irresponsible and has resulted in millions of refugees, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Western countries’ demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down before any resolution to the Syrian conflict can be made, in an interview to Spanish newspapers published on Saturday.
Ban came out in support of the Russian position to solve the Syrian crisis, in which Assad’s future is determined in elections. Ban also noted that stalling by Western countries, which insist that Assad cannot be part of the transition process or future election, has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees due to delays in negotiations.
“The future of President Assad must be decided by the Syrian people. It is totally unfair and unreasonable one person takes the whole political negotiation process hostage,” Ban told El Mundo.
The US softened its stance on Assad remaining in power through the transitional period briefly before the negotiations. It does maintain that Assad cannot take part in elections afterwards as a precondition to further negotiations.
“The Syrian government insists that President Assad should be part of [the transitional government]; many countries, particularly the West, say that there is no place for him,” Ban said.
“Because of this we have lost three years, with more than 250,000 dead, more than 13 million people, over half of the population, is displaced inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian aid, more than 50% of hospitals, schools and infrastructure have been destroyed,” he added.
Syrian conflict talks in Vienna concluded on Friday with a tentative agreement on a ceasefire and a transitional government, although further agreements are stalled because of disagreements over the Syrian president’s fate.[…]